Saturday, September 10, 2011


I stared writing in this blog about the contemporary heroes but somehow could not pursue it further due one reason or the other. Today I read the congratulatory message to Dr. Ronki Ram in the Ambedkar Times on some more feathers in the cap of Dr. Ronki Ram. Though I have had no chance to meet Dr. Ronki Ram personally yet I have read about him and his intellectual inputs to the dalits and other related matters which have been received well and appreciated in India and abroad. I join the Ambedkar Times in congratulating Dr. Ronki Ram on getting the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Professorship at the Political Science Department of the Punjab University and the Head of the Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) - a cultural and educational arm of the Ministry of External affairs (MEA) ( not long before I was a humble cadre of the MEA) at the prestigious Leident University of the Netherlands. I wish Dr. Ronki Ram all success and prosperity at his new assignments in the years to come.
I tried my hand at the Google search to know something more about Dr. Ronki Ram but could not succeed. I know from my basic information and knowledge that Dr. Ronki Ram is one of the worthy alumni of the Jawaharlal University for his doctorate. He remained a fellow at the prestigious Upsala University in Sweden in 1993 for a Diploma in Conflict Resolution ( I myself was posted in Embassy of India Stockholm from 1991 to 94 and visited the Upsala University a number of times but did not meet Dr. Ronki Ram). Currently, Dr. Ronki Ram is the Head of the Department of Political Science of the Punjab University, Chandigarh which is the proud Alma mata of Dr. Ram for his Masters degree.

As regards his positive contribution to the community and the country, he has done a seminal work on the matters related to the dalits, Dera Sachkhand Balan of Jalandhar, Babu Mangoo Ram of the Ad-dharam movement and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the founding father of the Indian constitution and the saviour of the dalits. The dalits and the community at large particularly the intellectual segments of the educational faculty shall be grateful and appreciative of Dr. Ronki Ram.


Without Comments

For the benefit of proponents of Merit with regard to social empowerment and affirmative action in India :

The world's second-fastest growing economy does not have an educational institute in the top 200 global list this year.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay -- the only Indian varsity that found itself in the Top 200 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings in 2010 at the number 187 spot -- dropped 38 places to 225. Similarly, IIT Delhi fell to number 218 from 202 in 2010 and IIT Madras dropped to 281 from last year's 262.

The rankings by QS, a leading networking organisation in higher education, are based on employer reputation, academic reputation and research quality.
( a news item in the of September 9)

For the benefit of the Aam-Adami to jugde their elected representatives:
As the 26-day session ended, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha both reported considerable loss of time to disruptions. Question Hour, the sole instrument that ensures government accountability, remained the biggest casualty as only 1.96 questions could be answered a day against the 19.2 listed in Lok Sabha.

As the Opposition disallowed work targeting the government for corruption, Lokpal issue, Gujarat Governor’s interference in Lokayukta’s appointment and cash-for-vote scam, Lok Sabha lost 45 pc of its scheduled time working for 77 hours out of the listed 138. Rajya Sabha lost 44 pc (57 hours) of time.

On the past lines, Question Hour was the hardest hit and not taken up in Lok Sabha on 16 days. Out of 500 listed questions, only 51 were answered by ministers; that’s 1.96 answers a day. Question Hour performance of this eighth session of 15th Lok Sabha was among the three worst since 2009 - preceded by the sixth session (winter session consumed by 2G Spectrum scam) in which 0.2 questions a day were answered and fifth session in which 1.76 queries were daily answered.

In the Upper House, too, only 65 out of 500 listed queries were answered. That explained Chairman Hamid Ansari’ valedictory address, “It being the monsoon session, the House has lived up to its appellation with stormy proceedings and many matters of public importance remained unattended. This is a sad commentary on the duty of the Members …and calls for introspection.” In Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar returned the sentiment saying, “I’m sure members are committed to check this tendency...”
(a news item in the Times of India on September 9)

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Some Random thoughts

It has been often observed that, with reference to reservation and other related issues of empowerment of the socially weaker sections of the society, an argument of due weightage to merit is given. Yes, to my mind, merit shall be recognized and rewarded. But merit gets meaning only when the level playing ground is available to all. Otherwise the merit remains a one sided attribute. The purpose of this write up is not to dwell on the issue of merit but to indicate the findings of a cursory case study in which it has been found that merit and opportunity are co-related. We Indians, particularly those of us who talk of merit, should think that how many Nobel Prizes and how many inventions and patents, our fellow Indians living in India, have bagged over the years? The so called merit suddenly disappears in the international arena.

The case in study is the game of cricket in India and the dalits. The population of the SCs & STs in India comes to around 25 % of the 1.2 billion of India’s total. The SCs alone are more than 166 million. How many dalits could make to the national level in cricket which is the most popular game in India? I tried to check the information. The Wikipedia mentioned about Patwankar Baloo and Shivram brothers of Gujrat in the early twenties century. Vinod Kambli made it the national and international level in the contemporary times. My knowledge and information is limited in this regard. I could un-surface two more names from the dalits of Punjab in the field of class one cricket in India. Amarjit Kaypee is a recognized and acclaimed player of the 90s. But could not make it to the national level. Chander Kanta Ahir (now Kaul) is yet another player who could make it to the top and captained the Indian Women Team in the international games more than once. It is just chance and I am proud of the fact that I happen know families of both Amarjit and Chander Kanta. Amarjit is the brother of Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Member of Parliament representing Jalandhar in the Lok Sabha and son of Darshan Singh Kaypee, a popular politician. Chander Kanta is the worthy daughter of my old acquaintances Harbans, her father, who himself was athlete of standing and her grandfather Munshi Ram who was a contemporary and fellow small businessman of my father and grandfather in Bootan Mandi, a famous leather market of Jalandhar. India is a big country and 25% of the people generally should have a good share in the things Indian. But, unfortunately, it is not so as we harp on lop-sided merit rather than equal opportunity and empowerment of the weaker sections.

Let me elaborate it further as to what is equation between merit and opportunity. Of late, many of the socially backward dalits of India have gone to developed countries of Europe and the USA etc. I think they really made a dent in improving their lot as they get fair deal and opportunity. I don’t have detailed information on the subject. But I have information and knowledge of some of the young people of my immediate family who have excelled in the game of cricket which was not possible in India given their social and economic background. Satish Kaul son of my wife Vidya’s brother Hussan Lal in Vienna (Austria) was born in India in village Nawan Pind near Nakodar. He went to Vienna to join his father about ten years before. He is, by now, one of the leading player in the Austrian national cricket team as an all-rounder. Satish had interest in the game even in India but there was no fair opportunity. Only the opportunity has brought out merit in him. Deepak Samra is the son of my sister Maya in Vienna again. He also plays cricket with distinction in various Austrian clubs. He was also born and brought up in Talwan and Deol Nagar in Jalandhar in his initial years before joining his father Manohar Lal about a decade ago. Yet another up-coming youngman is Sukhy Hira son -in –law of my wife’s brother Hussan Lal in Vienna. Sukhy also plays for well-appointed cricket clubs in Vienna. All the three of them are close friends with each other. I wish they come and play in India with their Indian counterparts and demonstrate that given the opportunity merit could be attained. There is enough to learn.

अपना मुकद्दर आप बनाते हैं अहले दिल;
हम वोह नहीं जीने जमाना बना गया !